Former Trump campaign aide rejects Russia probe subpoena

Sam Nunberg reportedly worked for the Trump Organisation, US President Donald Trump's (pictured) business conglomerate, before becoming a paid aide.
Sam Nunberg reportedly worked for the Trump Organisation, US President Donald Trump's (pictured) business conglomerate, before becoming a paid aide. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON(AFP) - A former aide to President Donald Trump's election campaign said on Monday (March 5) he is rejecting a subpoena to provide information to the investigation into Russian meddling.

Sam Nunberg, who worked on the campaign during 2015, said collecting e-mails and other communications he had with other key Trump advisers, particularly Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, was too much trouble and he would not do it.

"They want me over at the grand jury. S**** that. Why do I have to go?" he told CNN.

"I'm not going to build the case that they are trying to build."

Nunberg reportedly worked for the Trump Organisation - Trump's business conglomerate - beginning in 2011, before becoming a paid aide on the New York real estate mogul's presidential campaign.

But he was fired in August that year after strong racist comments he made on his Facebook page years earlier surfaced.

Despite continued animosity between him and Trump over the posts, Nunberg said he would not cooperate with the "witch hunt" probe.

He said he had been interviewed by the team of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, for more than five hours late last month.

Since then, Mueller has demanded all of his records and communications with people on the campaign, which Nunberg said would take too much time to assemble.

"I think it would be really, really funny if they wanted to arrest me because I don't want to spend 80 hours going over e-mails I had with Steve Bannon and Roger Stone," two key Trump campaign advisers, he told MSNBC.

"Roger is my mentor. Roger is like family to me. I'm not going to do it."

Nunberg said Mueller's questioning suggested he was looking into stories about the president and prostitutes when Trump took his Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.

He also said the investigators insinuated that Stone had collaborated with Julian Assange's WikiLeaks group, which published documents hacked from Democrat Hillary Clinton's election campaign in mid-2016.

US intelligence have said those documents were illicitly obtained by or on behalf of the Russian government.

Nunberg said Mueller likely has some kind of evidence on Trump of misbehaviour, "but I don't know about that for sure." "I don't know what he is looking into," he told CNN.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders dismissed Nunberg's comments.

"I definitely think he doesn't know that for sure because he's incorrect," she said about Nunberg's suggestion that Trump may have done something illicit during the election.

"He hasn't worked at the White House, so I certainly can't speak to him or the lack of knowledge that he clearly has."

"We are fully cooperating with the office of the special counsel. We're going to continue to do so," Sanders added.